4.5 star rating: Recommended 163 Reviews

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  • Address: Fell and Stanyan Streets
  • Hours: Daily. Closed (except for through traffic) 10pm-6am
  • Admission: Free
When San Franciscans refer to 'the park,' there's only one that gets the definite article: Golden Gate Park. Everything San Franciscans hold dear is here: free spirits, free music, redwoods, Frisbee, protests, fine art, bonsai and even buffalo. Check out the range of attractions listed below, or just follow your bliss from east to the western shores.

Start on the east end, where you pass the Conservatory of Flowers and the sheltered contemplative valley of the AIDS Memorial Grove. As you near the Academy of Sciences, pass by the Shakespeare Garden, featuring 150 plants mentioned in Shakespeare's writings. Nearby are the Japanese Tea Garden, the San Francisco Botanical Garden and Strybing Arboretum. Head toward Martin Luther King Drive to pass the Polo Fields, where the 1967 Human Be-In took place and free concerts are still held in summer.

Outdoor activities abound here: an archery range, baseball and softball diamonds, fly-casting pools, a disc golf course, greens for lawn bowling, a horseshoe pitch, four soccer fields and 21 tennis courts. But the big draw here for athletes are the miles of trails for biking, jogging and horse-riding through the park's natural splendors. Or maybe just pack a picnic basket and laze the day away under sunny San Francisco skies.

Practical Info

Detailed park maps are available at McLaren Lodge (Corner of Fell and Stanyan streets), at the eastern entrance of the park, under the splendid cypress that's the city's official tree. The park is closed to traffic along John F. Kennedy Drive on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays.

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